Q&A: Sample Essay

Q&A: The present reflects the past. Discuss with reference to the texts.

For Malaysian Form 6 Students

Q: The present reflects the past. Discuss with reference to the texts.
As the Buffaloes Bathed – Pretam Kaur

What we are today comes from what we have been through in the past. We pick up our traits and habits from the people around us. A good group of social beings can greatly affect how we will end up in the future, and that is why, men should never forget their past, because it’s that very past, which had been responsible in shaping an individual. In many of the short stories studied in form 6, the element of how the present reflects the past is present in many of the stories.

As the Buffaloes Bathed, a short story by Pretam Kaur, is a story of a man who wanted to die but could not. This continued for so many years, nevertheless, the family continued to take care of him, no matter what his requests were. His burden became too much to the point the family members prayed for his death, and yet death did not come.

It is believed that one day, the man realised what kinds of trouble he had put the family into, and wanted to go away for good. That afternoon, he left the house with his walking stick and headed to the lake. No one could remember him as it was ten years since he last walked these streets. The man walked straight into the lake, and dipped his whole body inside, up to his head. He may have plunged into the lake in a ritual before going to the temple, a ritual Indians believe can wash away their sins. The phrase: “…death remembered him – at last,” indicates that he may have prayed for his death, and it was then, his call was answered, in that very lake he was in. Or, he might have just drowned himself. 

The man, who told his family he was dying, stayed alive for so many years and made numerous requests to his family members to be fulfilled. He did not really care about the trouble he was putting his family into, nor how unfeasible his requests were. He may have been alive that day, or may have been a happier person, if he had not treated his family members in that manner in the past. So, his death that day greatly reflected in his past, because if he were to be a happier person in the past, his death may not have ended in the lake, or maybe it would have been a peaceful one.



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